Business Coaching Gets Serious With Some Science

Multi-billion dollar industry gains credibility as research team at Bowling Green State University validates key measurement tool

TORONTO, Nov. 19, 2013 /CNW/ - It's long been known that managers with solid coaching skills not only contribute to a productive work force, but also enjoy accelerated career paths.  Now there's a tool to measure just how effectively a manager coaches, and it's been validated by a team of researchers from the Institute of Psychological Research and Application (IPRA) at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

The achievement marks a milestone for the burgeoning industry, which annually generates close to $2 billion (USD) in revenues, according to the International Coach Federation.  Today, coaching is used by over half of all companies, and of those not currently offering coaching programs, almost a third plan to do so in the future1.  As the discipline continues to grow, so has the need for scientific validation, to ensure programs deliver consistent, accurate and measureable results.

"We're really proud of the IPRA's validation of our Individual Coaching Assessment (IA) Scale, especially as we believe it to be the first such validation in the industry," says Gilles Rochefort, Principal, Personalized Management Coaching (PMC), the developer of the tool. "Because we've been using it for 10 years, we've been able to collect enough data to make this type of analysis possible."

"As a long-time believer in the benefits of business coaching, I know that it is highly aligned with talent retention, promotion and workplace stability," says Greg Pinks, Vice President, Human Resources, Armtec Inc., who has used the IA scale. "I'm pleased to see that research to validate management coaching is starting to emerge, to further reinforce coaching's credibility and effectiveness."

IA Scale measures manager's coaching effectiveness

PMC's Individual Coaching Assessment (IA)Scale is generated by a questionnaire that measures a manager's ability to develop direct reports from three critical perspectives: the manager's own, his/her supervisor's, and his/her direct reports'.  The tool assesses four key coaching factors (or subscales): credibility, desire, skill and capacity; as well as two additional subscales representing the unique circumstances of a manager's position: the climate within the team, and the team's image, or perceived value to its internal and external customers.

"What's really unique about the IA Scale is its singular focus on coaching," says Rochefort. "Unlike typical 360 assessments that measure a wide range of cognitive and personality traits, this tool targets only behaviours that impact a manager's ability and willingness to effectively develop direct reports.  That's what makes it so useful."

Bowling Green's IPRA reviewed 10 years of data on the IA Scale, representing companies operating across a range of sectors in Canada and the U.K., from pharmaceuticals, automotive, retail, financial, manufacturing and environmental services to aviation. Data were collected from 423 managers and senior managers and nearly 4000 direct reports.  Researchers completed three key activities:  a statistical analysis of the six IA subscales to test reliability; a review of the degree of consistency among scores provided by individual managers, direct reports and senior managers; and an analysis of the relationships between the six IA subscales, organizational performance, employee engagement, employee development, management competency, and career outcomes such as retention/turnover and promotion.

Direct reports most predictive of manager turnover and promotion

Results from the analysis showed that the IA Scale is highly reliable across all three sources of reports (manager, senior managers and direct reports).  Importantly, scores provided by the direct reports of the managers were highly and directly correlated (with reliability coefficients ranging from .92 to .96) with employee engagement, employee development, management competency, retention/turnover and promotion of the manager; while scores provided by both the manager (self-reported) and senior manager were not correlated with the manager's career outcomes at all.

"These results show that not only is the IA Scale a reliable measure of a manager's coaching effectiveness, but also importantly, direct reports are much better predictors of work outcomes for managers than the senior managers guiding them," says Rochefort. "It underscores that the traditional top-down succession planning process is flawed without the bottom-up perspective from direct reports.   These individuals have a unique perspective on a manager's performance and indeed, are in an ideal position to help evaluate their potential for future managerial/leadership positions."

Personalized Management Coaching (PMC) is a Toronto-based management coaching company that creates personalized and highly structured coaching programs for clients across a range of sectors.  PMC helps businesses measure the ROI of coaching by linking it to productivity and other critical performance metrics, helping to retain top talent and support succession planning.

1Coaching:  A Global Study of Successful Practices, Current Trends and Future Possibilities 2009-2018, American Management Association, 2008

SOURCE: Personalized Management Coaching

For further information:

Odette Coleman
BeSpeak Communications
(416) 315-6343

Francine Beck
BeSpeak Communications
(416) 725-3710

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